On the learning curve: transforming
education outcomes in India (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Education Ranking system
Mains level: Discuss the highlights of the system
- Improvement in learning outcomes is an immediate goal for India to
fulfil its aspirations of playing a greater role in the global economy.
- It is crucial that the states adopt a systemic approach to
transforming education outcomes, drawing lessons from the successful models.
Significant is the education department
- The education department certainly has the largest share of
employees in the State governments in India.
- Besides frontline service providers (teachers), there are a number
of other officials and administrators.
- They form an important part of the overall educational set-up.
- So having proper educational reform policies in place is essential
to effectively utilise this human resource to achieve higher learning
- Education transformation programmes by the States are often not
designed in a way to be agreed upon by all key actors.
- Any effort at education reforms must ensure that the incentives of
all stakeholders are aligned throughout the system to ensure their
- A successful example of implementing such an all encompassing road
map can be seen in Haryana.
About the Haryana's model
- Haryana has created a race among its administrative blocks to be
declared as ‘Saksham’ (Hindi for abled/skilled).
- This means that they should have 80% or more students who are
grade level competent i.e. the appropriate level of competence for a
- Under this campaign, officials take up remedial programmes,
teacher training and internal assessments.
- Consequently, if they are confident that their block has achieved
the 80% target, state officials nominate their block for the ‘Saksham
- This self-nomination is then followed by rigorous rounds of third
party assessments to check their claims.
- If a block is found to be ‘Saksham’, the block officials are
recognised and honoured by the State administration.
- Further, when all blocks in a district are declared as ‘Saksham’,
the entire district is also accorded the ‘Saksham’ status.
- According to the latest third party assessment, 94 blocks out of a
total of 119 in Haryana have been declared ‘Saksham’.
- The overall grade competence has been assessed at 80%, a giant
leap from 40% in 2014.
- Given these early successes, many other States are also embarking
on such programmes.
- Inducing competition among administrative units helps encourage
the key stakeholders to work in tandem to achieve the intended outcomes.
- Competition also makes abstract goals such as ‘learning outcomes’
more real by defining exact ‘actionable’ metrics of improvement.
- Further, with encouragement from above, such campaigns lead to a
shift in the mindset of a State’s education administrators.
- Otherwise, generally, there is lack of motivation to believe and
work towards the achievement of high learning outcomes.
- So political commitment to improve the education quality along
with proper review and monitoring mechanisms can spur meaningful activity in
NITI Aayog's approach in this regard
- Since its inception, the NITI Aayog (National Institution for
Transforming India) insists on competitive federalism.
- Competitive federalism puts pressure on policymakers across States
to perform better on pre-defined goals and metrics.
- SEQI - To translate the above into education, NITI Aayog has now
developed the State-level ‘School Education Quality Index’ (SEQI).
- The index gives scores to States based on their educational
performance and puts this data out in the public domain.
- SEQI uses 3 data sources, including the National Achievement
- It comes out with 33 indicators to measure education outcomes, of
which the largest weightage (48%) is given to learning outcomes.
It adopts a two-fold ranking system
- To an overall performance score recognises well-performing States
- To a delta ranking that measures the level of improvement made by
States from their base year.
- In effect, the NITI’s Aayog’s State ranking encourages competition
among States and thus motivates other States to consistently improve.
- The NITI Aayog’s Aspirational Districts programme (ADP), launched
in early 2018, also draws from the model of competition.
- Here, under-served districts across the country compete with each
other in order to achieve targets in 5 crucial sectors.
- These include education, which has among a weightage of 30%.
- These districts are monitored on a real-time basis and ranked on
the basis of their progress.
- The follow-up for each indicator is handled by the respective
Ministry, while NITI Aayog handles the data compilation and dissemination.
- Significantly, there is a constant focus on recognising and
disseminating best practices of select districts to other States.
- This acts as a reward for well-performing local administrations.
- This strategy has already shown success with districts that were
ranked low in baseline surveys showing remarkable progress in subsequent
rounds of assessment.
- These include Virudhunagar (TN), Nuapada (Odisha), Gumla
(Jharkhand), Siddharthnagar (UP), Vizianagaram (Andhra Pradesh).
- Evidently, the right incentive structures for stakeholders lead to
administrative efficiency, thereby improving the quality of service
- States therefore need to induce competition and encourage all key
actors in education to improve the learning levels.
- This systemic approach can go a long way in transforming education
The case of the missing election in J
and K (Indian Express)
Q1. The Parliament can redraw the political map of India according to its
will. Which of these arguments or statements support this view?
- Parliament is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may
either accept or reject them.
- The constitution must be amended under Article 368 to accommodate new
states, for which states do not play any decisive role.
Which of the above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
Q.1) Discuss the highlights of education ranking system suggested by Niti Aayog.